Thoughts this week turn to the many wonderful people we know and have known at BFS, particularly those no longer with us. Such thoughts make me feel fortunate to have worked with the late Gilbert Zalman. I so enjoyed my occasional conversations with Gil over the years that I envied his students their near-daily opportunity to learn with and from him. We’re only human and we often take things and people for granted, so I know I may not have been able to appreciate Gil as much at a young age as I continue to appreciate him as an adult and as his colleague.
Perhaps even more fortunate is the fact that Gil’s 2005 interview with Michael McManus of the BFS Class of 2008 has survived in our school’s archives. The subject of the interview was Television in America, and Gil, being of a certain age, understood firsthand the societal impact of television beyond its invention. Gil’s words at the end of this 4-minute clip may be even more meaningful today as we converse and develop relationships with our “smart” phones while neglecting to converse and develop our relationships with the people sitting next to us or even right across the table from us.
Gil’s beautiful and understated obituary was published in The New York Times on April 29, 2013. Sorry I never got to dance with him, but I can honestly say that Gil was also one hell of a person.